Nearly a dozen students have completed a dental assistant training program sponsored by the Fort Hood American Red Cross.

According to Gail Pierce, dental chairman for the Red Cross on post, 11 students graduated Jan. 20. The program has not been offered on post for the past three years, she said.

To qualify for the training, Pierce said, the students had completed 40 hours of volunteer work.

“Most of them worked at Darnall (Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center),” she added.

Sylvia Rodriguez, the class’s honor graduate student, said “The hands-on experience was good; we got a lot of experience in areas such as tooth extractions, root canals and restorative work on the teeth.”

She said she compiled a 97 percentile grade point average during the four weeks of classroom work that preceded the clinical work assignments performed mainly at dental clinics on Fort Hood.

Students were required to complete 120 hours of classroom work and 280 clinical training hours.

When she finds a job, Rodriguez added, the extra income will help her and her husband, Juan, a Soldier assigned to the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, to take care of their children, Jesse, 10 months old, and Ariana, 4.

Juan came home from a previous deployment in Dec. 2007 but left again Jan. 3.

It’s been a very positive experience; I’m grateful to have been a part of it,” she said.

Another program graduate, Tina Linne, said, “The personal accomplishment to take and complete it and maintain an A average was great,” but acknowledged she was “Not having so much luck on finding employment.”

Linne found out about the dental assistant program when her husband, Robert, chief of medical maintenance for the 61st Multi-functional Medical Battalion, brought home a flyer indicating the program had been reinstated. She said she was waiting for a response from an employment packed submitted to RLM, an Army contractor.

“It just takes a little time to go through the application process for jobs on post,” Pierce said. Other program graduates include Cynthia Aswell, Sanela Fowler, Portia Johnson, LaCretia Hollomon, Amanda Hughey, Elizabeth Ramirez, Asuman Mielke, Anaiskalaf Torres and Sierra Zuniga.

For more information about the Fort

Hood American Red Cross office, call 287-0400.